Sail Date: November 2018
I have sailed on Holland America, Norwegian and now Carnival. This was my 50th birthday cruise to Ensenada Mexico. It left from Long Beach, CA so was easy to get to from Oregon and it was a short cruise which was ideal since I had several ... Read More
I have sailed on Holland America, Norwegian and now Carnival. This was my 50th birthday cruise to Ensenada Mexico. It left from Long Beach, CA so was easy to get to from Oregon and it was a short cruise which was ideal since I had several friends and family coming along. The ship was older and smaller than previous cruises I have been on. There were things to do on board during our "at sea" day (the first full day even though Ensenada was close by). However, none of us could participate in anything because for the first 24 hours of the cruise the ship was pitching and rolling so much we could barely stand upright. I had my parents with me and some of them are beginning to have mobility issues... I know the ship can't control the ocean and I'm not sure what I would have expected Carnival to do, it was just a difficulty we weren't expecting and that I had not experienced before. Aside from the curve ball mother nature threw us, the cruise was "ok". The room was fine but it would have been nice to have something other than the bed to sit on, and a coffee maker would have been appreciated. The food was marginal - the buffet was not large, there were only two other main dining restaurants and we were assigned to one of them. The manu was limited and the portions were small. There was a sandwich bar, a pizza bar - the quality of thes was so-so. There was also a burger place near the pool - that was a GOOD burger! I think my biggest frustration was the service. On previous cruises, the staff treated us like we were the first and only passengers on the ship giving us attention like they wanted us to have a good time. On this Carnival cruise, the staff were just going through the motions and actually avoided eye contact to get out of serving us on a few occasions! Except for the people that wanted us to buy overpriced stuff on board... For the shore excursion we were going to just go into town, but on the bus on the way, they talked us into going to Bufadora and the Flea Market. I'm really glad we did. It was a lot of fun even though in the market there's a lot of pressure from the vendors to buy their wares. All in all this cruise was pretty much what I intended it to be - a quick getaway with a group to celebrate my birthday, but Carnival cruise line in general left me a little disappointed when compared to other cruise lines I have experienced. I can't say I will jump at the chance to book another carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I have been on cruises before with Carnival. So, I like Carnival but sometimes its a hit or miss on some cruises if you dont have good staff, So let me kind of tell you the bad news first, 1. When we arrived at the port we were ... Read More
I have been on cruises before with Carnival. So, I like Carnival but sometimes its a hit or miss on some cruises if you dont have good staff, So let me kind of tell you the bad news first, 1. When we arrived at the port we were ready to hand over our luggage to the folks to take it to the ship. However the porters said we dont work for the cruise line but if we take your luggage for you if you give us a tip. We talked to the Carnival representative and they said that our cruise price included luggage transfer to the boat. Apparently the porters were trying to shake down customers for more money. We noticed this problem only at the Long Beach port but not at other ports where the service was excellent. We had to bring our own luggage on board since it appeared if we did not pay...we may not get our luggage if the porter wanted to be mean. He appeared to look like he could screw us since there is no logging of our luggage or proof we gave it to the porter, That was a real drag. 2. My daughter won a prize at giveway for guest in the main lounge. The Cruise Director said it was 200 dollar value. But the stuff in the package was crap necklace that you get for free at the shops. Plus there was a 25 off 175 dollar coupon. The other gifts were free excursions and other valuable gifts. The Cruise director took the cabin number down to investigate but never followed up. The prize was more of an insult to us and the director did not seem to care. This is unlike other cruise directors on other boats. Her assistant also did not care and told her to trade the gift to another person. The gift was worthless so there was nothing to trade. Note this behavior never occurred with other cruise directors who seem more attentive to customers. 3. Cabin service on main deck portholes was horrible. Beds were suppose to be separate and we had to push the steward to make the change even though we booked the rooms that way. We found globs of air on the new towels. When we were moved to a new cabin due to noise issues (see below), the stewards were excellent. This was on the Rivera floor 4. 4. Food was ok. 5. Service at the dinning was excellent from the entire staff. 6. Comedy club and night entertainment was very good, Like I said, most Carnival cruises are very good, Sometimes you don't get a good cruise director or cabin steward and that kind of blows most of your cruise, The real problem is the luggage situation where the porters are trying to intimidate/extort money from passengers when that service should be part of the cruise package, Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I recently moved to the west coast and i wanted to take a vacation before the year was over. After talking to my best friend, i decided to take a cruise. I took the 3 day cruise out of long beach to ensenada. Everything was absolutely ... Read More
I recently moved to the west coast and i wanted to take a vacation before the year was over. After talking to my best friend, i decided to take a cruise. I took the 3 day cruise out of long beach to ensenada. Everything was absolutely amazing. The ship was so organized and the excursion was great. Getting on and off the ship was fast. I booked an excursion with carnival that picked us up right at the port of call and got us back to the ship in ample time. I had a interior port hole cabin on deck 6. I did feel some rocking but it was soothing. The food was delicious and there was always something to do like the divas show and trivia. You get so much for a great price. There was something for everyone like a club, children's activities and even a library that has board games. I will be taking my 5 year old daughter in May. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
First cruise. This was a fun trip. I do wish they had a 3 day cruise that just went to Catalina Island and a "fun day at sea". Room: very nice, big, clean, great shower, comfy bed. Nice balcony. Room U88. Food: ... Read More
First cruise. This was a fun trip. I do wish they had a 3 day cruise that just went to Catalina Island and a "fun day at sea". Room: very nice, big, clean, great shower, comfy bed. Nice balcony. Room U88. Food: the food is fine - nothing amazing and nothing horrible. service in the sit down dining rooms is touch and go - they are overworked and underpaid so... - very nice people working on the ship. Burger and mexican food on the Lido deck is always good. Pizza late night is a good choice as well. Did room service once and it was fine and pretty fast - BLT, all good. Drinks: great! we did the cheers package and I just could not get my money's worth because we had two days on land - next time, pay as you go for me! But there were some people on the cruise who were proud of their 15 alcoholic drinks a day record! Cruise Director - Melissa - amazingly hard working woman. she gets the crowd going every time she starts talking. I hope they pay her lots... Catalina Island - just beautiful and so fun shopping and we rented a golf cart. I wish we spent more time on this island. Had to take a tender but no problem at all Ensanada - not my favorite - run down / we did the atv wine trip. they dont tell you it is 40 min to get to the location to do the atv's. the atv's are a blast! lots of fun and a good long ride. the wine tasting is kind of a joke. the winery we were at was "too busy" to give us a tasting so the guy who did the atv tour gave us the tasting and of course he was not an expert but he did his best. nice young man named antonie? the cheese and crackers are very limited- especially with the more people in your atv tour. so atv gets an a+ and the wine/cheese gets a C. They dropped us off in town and we very quickly went back to the ship on board events - very fun! we watched melissa do the "hairy man chest" competition on the lido deck and it was really, really funny! We did bingo (lost but the MC was an english fella who has a good future as a potential cruise director). There are live bands all over the place. GO DO LOTS ON THE SHIP - it is fun and people WANT to have a good time so they are looking to get involved. Download the carnival app - it gives daily "to do's" They take a million pictures of you. Gets tiresome after a while. Stuff goes on sale the last day of the trip! Pool - way too small for 1800 people. I think they fill it up with the sea water so it is chilly. I did not go into pool. I did not use hot tub either. Pool could use an update. Explore the ship - there are some beautiful views. The gym is very nice, lots of machines and clean. We used the wrist bands and never got sick but you can feel the boat moving sometimes. I will never be a cruise person, dont think I could go for more than 4 days, but this was a very fun and relaxing first cruise and I would do it again. Carnival did not dissapoint. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This is the local getaway booze cruise. Yes the ship is old and small compared to the destination cruises, but this ship is all about getting away for a couple of days. Keep that in mind when going on this ship. My wife and I just ... Read More
This is the local getaway booze cruise. Yes the ship is old and small compared to the destination cruises, but this ship is all about getting away for a couple of days. Keep that in mind when going on this ship. My wife and I just sailed this week. Embarkation and debarkation were easy as can be. Arrive when you are supposed to and you get on the ship very quickly. I think the room was ready in about one hour and our luggage was there within 2 hours. We were able to debark quickly at each port, I think the earlier you go the better. Final day debarking was quick, however we did the late time and enjoyed breakfast first. We had a cabin with porthole. The steward was good and he asked us how often we wanted the room cleaned. We filled out a form and the room was straightened up each morning and evening. The cabin was plenty big for the two of us. The bathroom is actually pretty roomy for a cruise ship. The water pressure on the shower was excellent. There is no luxury here but I think the room was plenty good for interior booking price. You get what you pay for. The food was very good. The portions in the dining room are small, so if you are hungry make sure you order a couple of things. The service was pretty good, a little slow sometimes. We did anytime dining so we had a different server for each meal. The buffet food is mostly good, but some of the dishes were not great. It's just regular buffet food. The pizza counter was actually very good. The Guy Burger joint is great. The pool and hot tub are small and did not look fun. I never went in. I think if I went on the ship intending to swim and lounge at the pool I would be disappointed. The entertainment was pretty good. No where near Disney level, which is the last cruise I went on. They had lots of games during the day which were usually fun. The main shows were OK. I did not care for the Divas show, it was loud and annoying. The Rock Show was much better. The bands / solo performers around the ship were usually pretty good, but not really worth going out of your way for. The comedians were excellent. We even had a close up magician come by our dining table twice. I did not attend any art events or bingo, so I cannot comment on that. The cruise director seemed to be a fairly engaging person, and most of the Fun Squad staff were fun to be around. I did not play any casino games, however the casino looked small and unimpressive. Also the bar next to the casino was sometimes the only bar open late and it was no fun having to smell the smokers. The ship had too many elevators not working when we were on board, which was very annoying. I know it is not that far to walk, but I really think they need to do a better job maintaining the lifts. Just an annoying complaint is that on port days none of the bars on level 9 were open and there were no servers, just the one up on the Lido deck, which was very busy. They should operate one bar on deck 9 just so those that don't want to go into port can easily get drinks. We also got the Cheers package and it was totally worth it. The best thing is you just order pretty much whatever you want. You can try drinks and if you don't like it, no problem just order something else. Also you can get as many water bottles, energy drinks, soda, and specialty coffees that you want. We spaced out our drinking so we never got drunk, however you certainly could if you wanted to. Most of the drinks are plenty strong. I think expectations are important when going on this cruise. If you expect a Disney/Destination cruise experience you might be a little disappointed as this is not a Luxury ship. If you go to have fun and eat and drink for 4 days, you will have a great time. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Just got back from the Sunday-Thursday Carnival Imagination cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. This was our 4th or 5th trip on this cruise in addition to other cruises that were more high end. The cruise has a nickname; "booze ... Read More
Just got back from the Sunday-Thursday Carnival Imagination cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. This was our 4th or 5th trip on this cruise in addition to other cruises that were more high end. The cruise has a nickname; "booze cruise" and it is accurate if you are young and looking to party. If you are new to cruising, you will have a great time. If you are looking for rest and relaxation, you may want to consider other options. PRO: Overall staff was friendly, accommodating and good at their job. Haydee was our primary server in the Pride Dining Room (anytime dining) and she was fantastic. Very warm and hospitable. Old school style cruise server. The food was mediocre at best in the dining room and inexpensive Downtown Vegas style buffet on the Lido deck. This was a great example of "you get what you pay for." We were looking to economize on this cruise and were willing to accept an interior cabin. We upgraded for slightly more money to a room with port holes and it was a good alternative to a cabin with a large window. We were in room E1 and were satisfied. Check in was easy. We spent under $250 on our sign and sail card including gratuities. Again, we were very aware of our budget and were able to keep it that way. CON: Internet was pricey and horrible. Very slow and limited. Although the room was adequate and the steward was friendly (Wayan), he was limited to freshening up our cabin to only once a day unless specifically asked. This is a big change to the personal level of attention experienced cruisers are used to. To me, it says that Carnival has cut back on staff and therefore, the steward does not have time to take care of the guest in a way they once could. Public restrooms frequently needed attention. A subtle clue to the lack of personnel was the lack of trash cans and crew members in the public areas. A lack of trash cans says that there are not enough people to keep them empty and the ship tidy. Meal portions were small and the number of courses were limited from previous. We had a bad experience on one of the nights because the waiter was not supported by other staff and was overworked. It was not his fault but again, speaks to the lack of staff. The Maitre D noticed that we were not happy and made great amends to make up for it. That is where Haydee really shined. Again, not the original servers fault. Our room was ok but my daughter and son-in laws room (R140) was in poor condition with rust, mold and mildew in the bathroom. The bed was made up with stained yellow sheets and the bed, including the pull out bunk, was very uncomfortable. They complained that the walls were thin and they could hear everything coming from other cabins. we also had the experience of smelling the horrible odor of sewage when we disembarked into Catalina and Ensenada. We could smell it in E1 but it was very strong as you came out of the ship. In Ensenada, the photographers held up the line with each passenger so they could take numerous photos for later sale. Each time the line was held up, we would have to breathe in the odor. The photogs should have been positioned elsewhere so we could get away from the smell quickly. Last but not least, I was witness to a near violent episode between passengers in the wee hours of the morning on the Lido Deck. Although it was not surprising, given the alcohol and volatile guests, security failed to arrive even though they were called by another crew member at the Pizza Pirate. This could have been very bad and I had to get involved to keep things from escalating further. Overall, I think this may have been our last time on this cruise. Carnival seems to have cut corners with staffing and the destinations are not appealing. Gratuities are preset and added to your bill regardless of the level of service. That can kill incentive to go above and beyond and tells the guest that they are required to subsidize the crew members salary so Carnival can save money. Overall, I like Carnival but this time only gets 2 stars. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The two Carnival ships that do the short three and four day sails out of Los Angeles are old. So old, in fact, that there are very few balcony rooms. But looking beyond the vintage of the ship(s), my wife and I like these cruises. Here ... Read More
The two Carnival ships that do the short three and four day sails out of Los Angeles are old. So old, in fact, that there are very few balcony rooms. But looking beyond the vintage of the ship(s), my wife and I like these cruises. Here are my notes on our latest Imagination cruise. First, embarkation and debarkation were smooth as silk. Carnival turned this ship around twice a week, and they have it down to an art. Second, we liked our interior cabin. It was good size, the bedding and mattress were nice, and the bathroom was quite large compared to similar inside bathrooms we have encountered on other ships. Third, the food was good. The main dining room courses were consistently well prepared and presented. The Guy Fieri burgers up by the pool were always fresh, hot, and bursting with flavor. Even the pizza at the 24 hour pizza counter was well done. These three things on the Imagination were generally better than their counterparts on Princess, Norwegian, and HAL cruises we have sailed on. Could this all be because there are no pay-extra speciality dining restaurants on the Imagination, and thus Carnival gives its all to the everyday dining? Who knows. Finally, the entertainment on the ship was also good, particularly the comedians. Not surprising, I guess, given the huge amount of talent available in the LA area from which the ships sail. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I'll never cruise with Carnival again. Let me just say, I only chose Carnival because I was vacationing with a group of eight people, and the majority chose Carnival. Personally, I would have chosen another cruise line... But that's ... Read More
I'll never cruise with Carnival again. Let me just say, I only chose Carnival because I was vacationing with a group of eight people, and the majority chose Carnival. Personally, I would have chosen another cruise line... But that's neither here nor there. Carnaval nickel-and-dime for everything. You can't even get up soft drink on the ship without being charged. Other Cruise Lines don't do that. Alcohol yes... But not a soda. Room service is free...until 10 p.m. Then you're charged. This is just another example of the nickel-and-diming! Also, the souvenir pictures they take of you costs $14 each. Yet another example of nickel-and-diming. For the amount you pay for the cruise you should at least be able to get one picture for free. And the others should be less than $14. Our room was decent. Nothing to write home about. The bathroom so so. But I wasn't expecting much. Once I was in the shower I realize that it wasn't clean the way it should have been. There were dirty fingerprints in the shower. Keep in mind that this was the first night we boarded the ship. Neither I or my roommate had yet taken a shower. So these weren't our fingerprints. Thankfully I brought my own Lysol and cleaned the bathroom myself. That's the only way I knew it would be clean. FYI they don't do a very good job at cleaning your rooms. When we'd leave and come back in the evening, the only thing they did was make your bed and gave you towels... IF AND ONLY IF they're left on the floor. Otherwise they would straighten out the towels that was already there. They didn't vacuum and they didn't change the sheets. Our Last Night of the cruise my party and I went to Pride restaurant. We were told that we could bring in our own bottles of wine. We were also told that there would be a cork fee of $30 if they had to remove the corks. However, if we removed them ourselves there would be no charge. Our server offered us a bucket of ice for our wine. At the very end before serving us dessert, our server told us that we will be charged $30 for a cork fee. Be reminded that they never opened any bottles for us. As a matter of fact two of our bottles were screw tops. We asked to speak with the manager. He arrived at our table with and overt attitude. He wouldn't allow us to explain our situation... And went on to tell us that we were being charged for drinking our wine and their establishment. Hmmm... that's not a cork fee. He never let us get a word in edgewise. He told us that these rules were in the contract. But that's a LIE. The contract does not say that you'll be charged for drinking your own alcohol in any of the restaurants. After his speech he walked away without saying anything else. We sat for another 5 to 10 minutes and another manager came over. His name was Christoph. He was friendly and allowed us to explain the situation. He apologized and said that $30 charge would be removed. However, we were still charged the $30. I had to call Carnival once we returned home from the cruise to get a refund. The last morning of the cruise, we woke up to no water and malfunctioning toilets. The toilet wouldn't flush there was no water in the sink or the showers. I was forced to leave the Ship Without a shower, and had to brush my teeth with the remaining Margarita from the night before. Later we found out that there were busted pipes in some of the the rooms on our floor. I assume that's the reason for no water that morning. But it would have been nice to have received some type of notification. One thing you should know that I did not is that the Imagination ship is an older ship. It's not as big as others. There's one pool and 1 small hot tub to fit about 6 people. We never got into the pool because it was always so crowded and kids splashing everywhere. The hot tub was absolutely disgusting with hair and other things floating around. I made do with what we had. I had a great time with the friends I was with, but I will never cruise with Carnival again. They've put a very bad taste in my mouth! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I went with a large party of 30--lots of kids. The waiters and room service people were awesome. And we tipped them well. However, Carnival is cheap for many reasons. Super tacky decor. Always trying to make money off of you, ... Read More
I went with a large party of 30--lots of kids. The waiters and room service people were awesome. And we tipped them well. However, Carnival is cheap for many reasons. Super tacky decor. Always trying to make money off of you, whether it's interrupting you everywhere you go to take a photo, or shore excursions. Their best price guarantee is worthless, as you must have booked, found a cheaper excursion, and submitted the form 7 days prior to even getting on the boat. (There are definitely the same excursions for half the price!!!) Not only that, but they advertise this best price guarantee while you are on the ship, even though you can't possibly get any money back. I spoke to at least 10 different people about this refund and none of them told me it wasn't possible to get, as I booked our excursions on the cruise. They lied before I booked, as I booked, and after I booked. The first time they mentioned the "7 days prior" rule was three weeks after the cruise, after they directed me to four different emails. Either they are super unorganized or intentionally deceitful. Food was decent, and it's a fun, relatively cheap way to travel. However, because of their TERRIBLE customer service, I will never go with Carnival again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
First time sailing with Carnival, I was a little worried about the many poor reviews found here. But we had a great time with our kids, though I recognize where Carnival could improve. The ship itself is pretty shabby - outdated decor, ... Read More
First time sailing with Carnival, I was a little worried about the many poor reviews found here. But we had a great time with our kids, though I recognize where Carnival could improve. The ship itself is pretty shabby - outdated decor, messy public bathrooms. And it feels SO small compared to the larger Royal Caribbean ships we've been on - certainly more limited options for activities and entertainment. Maybe because of the smaller size, "adult" spots like the bars and casinos are intermingled with the pathway to the dining room, candy store, and more, leaving you to constantly walk with your kids through smoke and the clusters of day drinkers. (On RC, we're usually able to avoid those decks altogether.) But our cabin ended up being quite comfortable, we enjoyed the food at the buffet and dining room, my 17yo *loved* the O2 teen club, and we found plenty to do with our 10yo son (live game show, all ages comedy shows, trivia contests, water slides and pool). We were surprised at how rude our dining room waiters were, and how long it took for dinner (usually about 90 minutes), so that was a drawback. But the food was very good, and we enjoyed trying some new things (spicy alligator fritters and rabbit!). We were also surprised at the poor organization of disembarking at Catalina - wait times to get off the ship were near 2 hours at some points. I have to mention the "Fun Squad" on the ship - bless their hearts. They end up doing some of the cheesiest stuff during shows and dance parties, etc, but they are committed, and I had to give them credit. The performers in the live shows were also very impressive, given that they have to endure some horrible costumes and choreography - we watched the "Epic Rock" show and had to stifle laughs the entire time. But they sang and danced their hearts out, and they deserve kudos for that. Though this cruise lacked a lot of "polish," our family made some great memories together, and I'm glad we went! Read Less
Carnival Imagination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.3

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